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Archive for the "Sister Patricia Hayes" Category


December 24, 2023
By Sister Patricia Hayes, CSA

I wasn’t picking on anyone, I wasn’t purposely excluding anyone.
Except for the rich who could send runners ahead to reserve a spot, literally,
it was first-come, first-served.

Remember – no phone, fax or email. 
We are not talking Holiday Inn or Marriott, Hilton or Best Western. 
Adobe dwelling with a platform bed and perhaps a window. 
No dining room, laundry or indoor plumbing. 
Literally, only a place to lay your head.

So when the young man and obviously ready-to-give-birth woman showed up
I did not what any father would want someone to do for his daughter and son-in-law.
I found them warmth and privacy.
I offered them my stable and my wife as midwife.

They were surprised; because the families they passed leaving Bethlehem as they entered
all told them “there was no room in the inn.”
Joseph and Mary gave thanks and settled into the hay and straw-strewn abode – waiting.

In Just-spring

April 23, 2023
By Sister Patricia Hayes, CSA

In Just-spring, when the world is mud-luscious…puddle-wonderful…”  These words from a poem by e.e.cummings conjure up the promise of glee, forbidden pleasures and child-like abandon.  They invite consideration of other “in Just-spring” occurrences!

In Just – spring,
          the sky line is brushed a soft green;
                  buds well toward leafing,
                           fern fingerlings unfold along the shoulders of streams.

In Just – spring,
         yellow crocuses poke their heads through mounds of dead leaves;
                  orange crocuses ambush with a smiling “surprise”!

In Just – spring,
         birds sing Lauds,
                  proclaim Benedictus,
                           visit nature’s “home depot” and begin nest building.

In Just – spring,
         Jesus rises from the dead resurrecting hope,
                  invades locked rooms,
                           beckons the fearful forward.

In Just – spring,
         fallible followers become disciples,
                  speak in tongues,
                           create communities of “one heart and one mind.”

In Just – spring,
         prison doors mysteriously open,
                  the suffering rejoice in their trials,
                           murderers are pardoned.

In Just – spring,
         missionary journeys begin,
                  everywhere is home,
                           no one is excluded.

In Just – spring,          
         our “Easter” calling is renewed,
                  joyful witnessing is eager,
                           discovery and revelation of the Risen Christ is abundant.

In Just – spring…
         Spring into us, Just One, that you be resurrected over and over
                  in us and in our world.

One Word

April 09, 2023
By Sister Patricia Hayes, CSA

(John 20:11)

Stooped with sorrow,
trailing hope like a discarded garment,
I faced the empty tomb.

It only took one word.
The Gardener said “Mary”
and the stone on the tomb
of my heart was rolled back.

One word
And the shutter on the window of my soul
was flung open.
One word transformed everything, transformed me.

One word
And I was resurrected from the dead
and sent to share the loaves and fishes
of my life.

That day I learned that
one word can feed a few, feast a thousand.
One word was all it took.

Crazy, I Know

September 25, 2022
By Sister Patricia Hayes, CSA

(Luke 17:18-30 or John 5:33-36)

I don’t usually

 run to crazed men

ranting about repentance,

sandal straps and

succession planning.

But he seeded in me

a desire for someone

to assuage my hunger

and to slake my thirst.

The Boxers

June 26, 2022
By Sister Patricia Hayes, CSA

“Either/or” goes down fighting.
Each is determined to win.
Neither stays down for the full count.
Each wants to go 15 rounds and beyond.
Each is convinced they’ll throw the
knock-out punch.

And when they have bloodied and
bruised each other sufficiently
to simultaneously fall flat on their faces,
“Both/And” are declared the victors!


June 05, 2022
By Sister Patricia Hayes, CSA

(Luke 24:36-42 or John 20:19-23)

they huddle in the dark, locked room
        seeking safety in silence and withdrawal

‘til a might wind levels their defenses,
        erasing evidence of what was.

tongues of fire anoint each,
        resurrecting tongues of flesh interred in caves of silence.

breath of God inspirits numbed disciple-bodies to stand,
        to speak, to be sent.

“peace be with you” flung to the air in a Babel of praise.
        prodigal promise of Spirit gifts
                have pentecosted these common folk
                        into uncommon giving and forgiving.

the ends of the earth too confining to contain their joy.

The Opening of Eyes

April 24, 2022
By Sister Patricia Hayes, CSA

(based on Luke 24:13)

They can
be forgiven
their blindness.
After all,
who expects
to see
a dead man

Their opening
of eyes
in the
of the bread.

 What opens
my eyes? 

A Day Called Easter

April 17, 2022
By Sister Patricia Hayes, CSA

(based on Luke 24: 1-12)

In the pre-dawn darkness
they worried their way
to the granite grave.
The whispered: 
“How will we?” froze
on their lips
at the sight.

An open, empty tomb
and other-worldly words
of reminder, remember,
and resurrection
sent them scurrying
to the others
the while,
“How can this be?

Huddled together,
amazed and afraid,  
knowing and unsure,
they discussed:
“If Jesus’ words about
rising from the dead
were true,
than so were all the others.”

“Could it be,”
they mused, “we must
live, as Jesus did,
threatened with resurrection?”


March 13, 2022
By Sister Patricia Hayes, CSA

(Is 25:6-10; Mt 15:29-37)


On this mountain

There is food,


flowing fruit of the vine;

There is fasting from tears,

forfeiture of sorrow.

On this mountain

There is freedom from physical constraints,

fishing for fragments,

foraging for flour loaves

On this mountain fallible followers find faith.


The Woman at the Stable

December 25, 2021
By Sister Patricia Hayes, CSA

You have it all wrong!
I would never be at a distance from the baby.
You would have found us both lying in the straw.
Jesus swaddled in my head cloth lying in the crook of my arms,
my head resting on Joseph’s lap.
Like the night, we were half spent.

Your sanitized crèches don’t honor the
bloody, body-cleaving experience of labor.
I can accept that.
What is unacceptable are the depictions
which have us separate.

No mother would leave her newborn thus.
9 months of mutual presence don’t end with delivery.
Jesus is bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.
We would not be separated.

Of course I adored him,
but not on my knees as subject to royalty,
although he was of the royal house of David.
I adored him with my eyes, my heart bent
with tenderness and love beyond all telling.

Let the artists draw and the sculptors mold this nativity –
a trinity of connectedness.  Three become one.


November 28, 2021
By Sister Patricia Hayes, CSA

“There is a season for everything….”

Thanksgiving falls from the lips in hues of yellow, red and orange.  On crisp feet, it roams the countryside and frolics in autumn breezes.  It cuts a “V” through the sky traveling great distances on sturdy, steady wings.

Giving thanks lies buried in permafrost, frozen in veins which sluggishly,
reluctantly draw it toward the surface.  It crawls up the back of the throat and slips through numb lips.  In the frosted air, it shatters like fallen icicles.

Tenderly, tentatively thanksgiving pushes beyond yesterday’s tundra and leans into remembered promises.  It breaks through the ready soil and unfolds, petal by petal, in the subtle warmth of spring.  It flourishes in newness, freshness and expectancy growing in cycles of hope and grace.

Hot blasts of gratitude, sweaty with sentiment and humid with happiness, flit about.  Lightsome and playful, it cascades down the slide of life, tumbles, and rises to begin again.  Gleefully spinning and swinging high it pumps possibility and joy into the world.

Such are the seasons of thanksgiving.  We don’t choose them.  They don’t come in rhythmed, measured cycles.  The heart knows the seasons and entrusts them to the Heart that receives them in season and out of season.
To everything…flashes of color or shards of crystal, greenness of shoot or waves of heat, there is a season.

Who Would Have Thought

November 14, 2021
By Sister Patricia Hayes, CSA

Knowing wood as you did,

did you ever imagine

it would be more malleable

than the human heart?



Watch Sister Pat's longer reflection on this poem as part of the CSA Heartbeats series.

No One Notices

June 27, 2021
By Sister Patricia Hayes, CSA

No one notices the fear that is dogging my steps.⠀
They are unaware the spit in my mouth ⠀
is drying up and ⠀
my heart is racing.⠀
I want to fly apart and scream⠀
“I’m terrified” but can’t’, won’t.⠀

I set my face like flint--that’s what terror does⠀
I’m dying yet my death is days away.⠀

The Paralytic

March 14, 2021
By Sister Patricia Hayes, CSA

That’s it. It’s over.⠀
Forgiveness is nice but it doesn’t awaken muscles!⠀
I had hoped….⠀

The theological debate rages above me and ⠀
they don’t notice my spirit withering, my dream atrophying.⠀

Then breaking into my despair⠀
I hear “Rise…take up your mat….go.”⠀

Without a second thought⠀
I stand and run.⠀
When the reality of what’s happening slams into me⠀
I fall to my knees and weep.


January 24, 2021
By Sister Patricia Hayes, CSA

You gazed at me
through the window,
devouring me with your
soft, brown eyes.
Alive with longing,
heedless of risk,
I fled with you to the woods
where you fed me blueberries
and bathed me in the clear,
cool water of the brook.

That whole afternoon
we lay together
in the sun-dappled grasses,
our bodies warm, entwined,
touching along their entire length.
I couldn’t get close enough,
was starved for more of you.
I wanted to disappear
into the warm underbelly
of your heart.

“As a deer longs for running water,
so my soul longs for you O God.”

The Leaves

November 22, 2020
By Sister Patricia Hayes, CSA

The leaves dance back and forth across the lane ⠀
heedless of the stranger ⠀
whose feet would easily crush ⠀
and I wonder how they flirt so easily with danger.⠀

They dance on crisp feet to symphonies of sound ⠀
they alone can hear and rush ⠀
to catch a mighty gust bound ⠀
for secret places, with dear friends, to sing an old refrain.⠀

Attuned to the dance of wild abandon ⠀
my soul leans toward the freedom ⠀
to seek a truer home ⠀
that it intuitively knows exists in God alone.⠀

Yet when the winds of grace blow I seldom ⠀
open the doors of my will.⠀
Rather I seek other ground ⠀
praying God’s mercy and compassion will follow me still⠀

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